How to Survive Thanksgiving

Dear Martini Thanksgiving

Woohoo, you made it to the main event!  Now we all just have to survive tonight and tomorrow.

How to Survive Thanksgiving–Our tips for surviving tonight and tomorrow… (in no particular order):

1.  Don’t freak out — at this point whatever gets done, gets done.

2.  Don’t stay up too late tonight.

3.  Don’t forget to eat a good breakfast tomorrow morning.

4.  Sip a glass of wine as you go.  Make the mood festive and relaxed.

5.  Don’t announce your mistakes... whatever you are obsessing about that you think everyone will notice— if you don’t say anything they probably won’t notice.

You’re gonna do great.  The food is going to be great.  Even if the worst happens (insert whatever that means to you), it’s all about having a good time with family and friends tomorrow so whatever happens won’t matter.

Don’t forget if you run into trouble tomorrow you can search the technique videos on our site or go straight to our youtube channel for help.  Be sure to watch the Carving Club video for a glimpse of both Mia and Terri’s family Thanksgivings over the years.

If ya wanna be a real-card-carrying-member of Carving Club you gotta spread the word…like it, share it, reblog it, pin it!

For step by step instructions how to carve the turkey watch How to Carve the Bird.

Thanks so much to all of you for supporting our little blog and videos.  You are the reason we continue to do what we do — we give thanks for all of you EVERY day!  Wishing you all a wonderful day with your families.

Happy Thanksgiving from Dear Martini!

Cheers,

Mia and Terri

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Thanksgiving Planning: Countdown to Turkey Day!

Tips to preparing for thanksgiving | via www.dearmartini.wordpress.com

The Cook’s Guide to Preparing a Thanksgiving Feast

Woohoo– only 6 more days to Thanksgiving!  Here is the Cook’s Guide to the Final Countdown to Turkey Day (or How to Keep Your Sanity and Have Fun Doing It!)   Our goal as we prep this week is to try to get as much done before Thursday as possible.  Here’s how we (really) do it…

To make the shopping more manageable, we divide our shopping into two trips.  Friday or Saturday:  Shop for ingredients you need to get started on recipes  through Monday.  Tuesday: Shop for remaining perishable items like fruit, salad greens, flowers, AND anything you forgot to pick up on your first trip. Dividing the list makes the first shopping trip easier and the second trip gives you the opportunity to pick up forgotten ingredients and perishable produce items that won’t last till the end of the week (and still look and taste their best.) Remember…avoid going to the store on Wednesday as if the Zombie Apocalypse has happened.

If, after reading this you still need some extra advice and have some more specific questions, consider signing up for the Dear Martini Holiday Hotline!  We’ll be on-call all week long right up through T-Day to answer your questions, fix kitchen emergencies and offer advice and encouragement!  Sign up for it here:  The Dear Martini Holiday Hotline.

Browse through our Dear Martini Thanksgiving Playlist on YouTube.  It’s chockfull of every how-to technique you’ll need to know for preparing your feast including how to carve the turkey!

Saturday (before Thanksgiving)

If your bird is frozen pick it up today –Check thawing times and start process and based on how much your turkey weighs.  Refer to our previous post if you need a review on how to properly defrost a frozen turkey.

Turkey Thawing Times | via www.dearmartini.wordpress.com

Sunday (Thanksgiving week)

Make pie shells if making pumpkin or pecan pie and freeze ( if you are feeling overwhelmed– delegate the pies now!).

Make Cranberry Sauce and Vinaigrette.  Refrigerate until ready to serve on Thanksgiving (woohoo– you don’t have to think about these again).

Do any of your recipes call for toasted nuts?  Toast the nuts, cool and freeze today.

Planning on serving a soup?  Make it today and freeze.

Monday

Make stock for gravy and refrigerate (or freeze if you are tight on fridge space!).

Pro tip:  Chop all the garlic, onion, carrot, celery, shallots, leeks, etc. that you will need for every recipe and place in separate resealable plastic bags.  Store in your crisper drawer in the fridge.  This step really saves time– as you prepare your recipes for the rest of the week you will scoop out what you need and not have to stop to chop these ingredients.

If you are using the Dear Martini Dry Brine recipe.  Start the process tonight.

Double check the roasting guide for how many hours your bird will take to roast.  Write yourself a reminder note and post it on fridge so you are already looking ahead to your timing for Thursday.

Turkey Roasting Guide | via www.dearmartini.wordpress.com

Tuesday

Don’t forget to turn the bird over in the brining bag if you are using the Dear Martini Dry Brine recipe.  If you are picking up your bird today you can do an abbreviated dry brine: follow the instructions for brining without turning the bird.

Shop for produce and forgotten items.

Make cornbread (we love Jiffy) or cut bread for stuffing.

Clean the house and bathrooms.

Wednesday

Pro Tip:  Don’t even think about going to the store today! Imagine that all the roads and stores are crammed with zombies (… because, they are).  We usually take the day off work and we order take-out for dinner.

Follow brining instructions for Wednesday.

Bake off pies — Pumpkin Pie or Pecan Pie.

Make stuffing and refrigerate.  If you are short on oven space, you can make, bake, cool, and refrigerate stuffing today.  On Thursday, you take the stuffing out of the refrigerator about 40 minutes before the bird is done (to allow it to come to room temperature) and then reheat it in the oven once the turkey is out.  If you have enough oven space that you can bake the stuffing from start to finish on Thursday– don’t worry about baking it today.

Wash and trim salad greens , Brussels sprouts, greens, herbs, and any other vegetables.  Wrap in paper towels and place in plastic bags.  Refrigerate until needed.

Make any side dishes that can be made in advance.  Even if you can’t make the entire dish ahead look for steps you can do today — blanch green beans, seed pomegranates, sauté aromatic vegetables like onions, carrots, garlic, etc.

Set the table.

Place serving dishes and serving utensils out on your sideboard.

Set up coffee and set out coffee cups, dessert plates,  and utensils.

Set up wine and beverage station.

Thursday – Thanksgiving!

Pro Tip:  Wake up early and have a good breakfast!

Get the turkey in the oven. and follow the roasting instructions for our Roast Turkey.

While the turkey roasts:  Prepare side dishes.

While the turkey rests: Make the gravy, assemble the salad, bake or rewarm stuffing and casseroles.

Pro Tip:  Show off the turkey on a platter, take your pictures, but carve it in the kitchen.

As soon as turkey has been carved– serve everything immediately.

Have fun! Post your family photos and fabulous food on Dear Martini Facebook page.

After dinner… Dishes can wait, everything else can wait, but leftovers need to be refrigerated IMMEDIATELY following dinner.

Friday

You survived!  Relax and eat yummy leftovers.

Whew!  This list can be a little daunting, but remember you are preparing a feast.  Ask for help — don’t be shy about asking your family members for help!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

The Rules of Carving Club — Turkey Carving for Rock Stars

Welcome to Carving Club.

The First Rule of Carving Club is you do not carve at the table.

The Second Rule of Carving Club is– YOU DO NOT CARVE AT THE TABLE.

Carving the turkey is a big deal, so please be the Thanksgiving ROCK STAR you are and carve in the kitchen.  YOU DO NOT want to waste all that time brining, roasting and preparing that beautiful Thanksgiving turkey only to hack it into chunks.

The lovely scene depicted and  immortalized in Norman Rockwell’s Freedom from Want, has given you the wrong idea.  While it might seem like a great idea to carve at the dining room table in front of your admiring guests; for many reasons, it’s not. For one, it can be nerve-wracking — it’s a live performance with sharp knives in front of family and friends who will mock you at your every move.  For another, the mess — if you’re not the most scrupulously skilled surgeon, the juices may stain your tablecloth, your shirt and whomever is sitting nearest to you.   Lastly, from a culinary perspective, it’s the wrong way to slice turkey — slicing the meat while still on the bone forces you to cut with the grain of the meat rather than against it (and we all know that’s a culinary cardinal sin).  And if you look closely at the painting, the turkey is being presented and appreciated… not carved. 

You can still have that Norman Rockwell moment by bringing out your beautiful bird and presenting it to your guests — just do it before whisking it back to the kitchen to carve following the steps below.  Good luck – we know you’ll be great!

*Be sure to hit the blue links to see the helpful videos we’ve made to guide you through the recipe.  As always,  subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Happy Thanksgiving!